WJCT, based in Jacksonville, Florida, has worked to provide programming and services that celebrate human diversity, encourage joyful learning and promote civic participation all to empower citizens to improve the quality of their lives. WJCT has been a community tradition for more than 50 years providing in-depth, engaging and educational content to 1.5 million audience members in Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia.
With education being such a fundamental part of WJCT’s work, the American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen initiative was a natural fit and eagerly embraced by the station to help engage the community to address the dropout crisis.
One of the hallmarks of WJCT’s role in the American Graduate program was the creation of a statewide American Graduate Teacher Town Hall. WJCT partnered with other American Graduate stations in Florida, WLRN (Miami), WFSU (Tallahassee), WDSC (Daytona), WUSF and WEDU (Tampa) to present this forum for teachers from around the state of Florida.
More than 100 teachers werre welcomed into the WJCT Studios where local poet, playwright, former teacher and NPR host Al Letson hosted the two-hour conversation. Prior to the event, teachers filled out an online poll describing their thoughts and concerns about education and the dropout crisis. While in the studio, cell phone polling of the audience was used to provide immediate responses, which helped guide the conversation. The American Graduate Teacher Town Hall was simultaneously broadcast on all public television and radio stations across Florida.
WJCT recognizes that learning is not limited to the classroom, but continues for a lifetime. Going beyond the classroom and into the community, WJCT has utilized and localized its Voices of the First Coast project, a collection of local stories based on the nationwide story collecting StoryCorps model. Partnering with the Jacksonville Public Library, WJCT captured oral histories throughout the First Coast. The Voices of The First Coast brand has been extended further as WJCT collected audio stories from female refugees from war-torn countries. These local stories became part of a larger national conversation through the Women, War and Peace project. A listening party for the local radio documentary project, Voices Of The First Coast: Women, War & Peace was held at WJCT Studios, where citizens heard from producer Karen Feagins and were able to ask questions of refugee Mama Rachel, one of the profile stories.
WJCT is proud of its ongoing efforts to bring together the educational resources, and the cultural experiences of the people who make up the First Coast, creating a virtual town square where people connect to share experiences and improve the quality of their lives.
Visit WJCT's American Graduate website for more information on the program.